Regarding Rev. Rodriguez's Prayer
In 2006 my wife and I moved to Norfolk, Virginia to plant a church. The group we were working with was mainly Central American undocumented immigrants that had settled in Hampton Roads. The need for immigration reform was always in our mind. Growing up as the son of a pastor, I remember my Father hosting immigration seminars, but I never experienced the persecution that we were about to face in Norfolk. Every week another member of our church was arrested and subsequently deported. These were not hardened criminals or gang members rather they were humble people that desired a better life for their children. They were God fearing, church going members of society who settled in Virginia where 400 years prior to them arriving another group of immigrants arrived from Europe with the same hopes and aspirations of free enterprise, free speech and freedom of religion.
In a few short months we witnessed families being torn apart….children losing either a father or a mother, spouses being left along to provide for their children while immigration agents handcuffed and dragged husbands out of their homes.
I felt helpless. I was a pastor to these people but felt that I needed to do more but didn’t know what I could do. Who would listen to me? I’ll never forget the early morning call from four of our members who had been pulled over and not given a reason as to why. They called me frantically and asked me to come to the scene and interpret for them. I raced out of my home and when I arrived on the scene all four of these men were in handcuffs and were being escorted to an awaiting ICE van. As I approached the scene a state trooper stopped me and wouldn’t let me go any further. I explained that I was those men’s pastor and was here to help. The trooper put his hand on my shoulder and said “Pastor, you don’t have to worry about pastoring those four men any longer….you’re never going to see them again.”
For months after that episode I prayed and began to see what I could do as a faith leader to help, if anything. A colleague sent an email the subject line simply was “WATCH THIS!!!” The email contained a video clip of Rev. Sam Rodriguez, whom I had never met nor heard of prior. Though the video was of a civic event his words were heave sent. The prophetic mandate of faith leaders to stand up and speak out began to become very clear. He rebuked elephants and donkeys with authority, exalted the Lamb and the Lamb’s agenda and unashamedly did it all “in the name of Jesus”…. It was an “Elijah on Mt. Carmel” moment where tens of thousands gathered, other gods were called on and prayed to but when Rev. Rodriguez prayed to the God of Israel, in the name of Jesus, something from heaven fell upon the crowd and was obvious via their reaction.
From that moment on, the prophetic call was clear….we are to be Daniel’s in the midst of Babylon. God will position us and give us the king’s ear to speak the counsel of God.